Did you know that 30-80% of the heat in an average home is lost due to drafts and inadequate insulation? With winter weather bringing chilly temperatures, now is the perfect time to make sure your home heating system is performing efficiently.
In this article, we’ll provide tips to help you maintain your oil heating system so you can stay cosy all winter. Proper maintenance and preparation can help ensure your boiler and fuel tank operate reliably throughout the cold months. Preventative care also reduces the chances of costly emergency repairs when you need your heating system working its best.
Whether this is your first winter in a new home or you want to improve the performance of an ageing system, these maintenance tips will set you up for an optimal heating season. Read on to learn how to kick off the new year with a well-tuned heating system equipped to handle a big freeze.
Check Your Tank Level
One of the most essential winter maintenance tasks is checking your oil tank level regularly, especially during the cold winter months. We recommend checking your oil level at least once a month or more frequently as winter approaches. Running out of heating oil during low winter temperatures can be disastrous. However, don’t forget that TankTopper can provide an emergency fuel delivery if you should run out.
Routine tank level checks throughout autumn and winter ensures you have an adequate supply of heating oil to keep your boiler running. This protects your home, belongings, and, most importantly, your family’s health and comfort through the cold seasons. Monitoring tank levels also allows you to schedule affordable planned deliveries ahead of time rather than emergency fills. This preventative step avoids the headaches, hazards, and higher costs of your tank running empty mid-winter. Keep your home comfortably heated through winter by making tank level checks a regular maintenance routine.
Have Your Boiler Serviced
As winter approaches, it’s crucial to have your boiler serviced annually before the cold weather hits. An annual service by an OFTEC-registered engineer helps ensure your boiler runs safely and efficiently throughout the heating season.
Signs your boiler may need a service include longer warm-up times, unusual noises, cold spots in your home, or error codes appearing. A faulty boiler can lead to complete breakdowns and expensive emergency callouts when you need heat the most.
During the annual service, the engineer will conduct a thorough inspection and tune-up. They will check components like the heat exchanger, combustion chamber, flue ways, injectors, ignition, pumps, and seals for wear and tear. Any compromised parts will be repaired or replaced. The system pressure and safety devices will also be tested.
In addition to reducing breakdowns, an annual service optimises performance. It ensures your boiler burns fuel efficiently and helps reduce costly energy bills. With regular maintenance, your boiler will run reliably all winter long and keep your home comfortably warm. Protect your investment against problems by booking your boiler service before the cold weather sets in.
Bleed Your Radiators
Bleeding your radiators is a critical maintenance task that helps ensure your heating system runs efficiently and effectively all winter. Bleeding radiators refers to releasing trapped air from inside the radiator system.
Over time, air can become trapped inside your home’s radiator pipes and radiators. This trapped air causes gurgling noises and prevents the hot water from properly circulating through the radiators to heat your rooms. Radiators with trapped inside air will feel cold at the top, even when the system is on.
Bleeding radiators manually releases the trapped air and allows hot water to flow smoothly again. This restores the radiator’s heating functionality. We recommend doing it at the start of each winter before you turn the heating on for the first time. It’s also a good task to do intermittently throughout the winter if you notice gurgling noises or cold spots at the top of your radiators.
Insulate Your Home for Maximum Heat Retention
Insulating your home properly is one of the best ways to make it more energy-efficient during the winter. This helps prevent heat loss and reduces your energy bills. There are a few options for insulating your home:
Add Insulation in the Attic
The attic tends to be one of the main sources of heat loss in a home. Adding extra insulation in your attic can make a big difference in retaining heat. Hiring an insulation company to add attic insulation is an option if you don’t want to DIY. They will assess your current insulation levels and determine how much needs to be added.
Install Insulation in Walls
Insulating the walls is also important, as heat loss can occur through exterior walls. Blown-in wall insulation is a good option here. Small holes are drilled into the exterior walls, and a hose is used to pump in loose insulation material. This does require some drywall repairs afterwards.
Seal Air Leaks
Any air leaks or draughts in your home will undermine insulation efforts. Carefully seal any cracks or gaps on exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and around windows and doors. Use caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping to draught-proof your home. This will help keep heated air inside during winter.
With proper insulation and air sealing, you can keep your home much warmer without cranking up the thermostat. This saves energy and money while making your home more comfortable during the colder months.
Service Your Thermostat
One winter maintenance task that is easy to overlook is servicing your thermostat. Your thermostat is a crucial component of your heating system, controlling when your boiler fires up to heat your home. To keep your thermostat working properly, it’s a good idea to have it serviced annually by a heating technician. They can test it for accuracy and make any necessary adjustments.
Signs that your thermostat may need replacing include inconsistent room temperatures, failure to turn on the boiler, unusual fluctuations, and taking a long time to respond to changes in the set temperature. If your thermostat is very old or malfunctioning, replacing it with a new programmable model can optimise heating efficiency. New digital thermostats allow you to set customised schedules to match when you are home and awake versus away or sleeping.
Clean Fuel Filters
Keeping your fuel filters clean is one of the most important maintenance tasks to keep your oil heating system running efficiently. Fuel filters remove contaminants from the heating oil before it reaches the burner. Over time, residue can build up in the filter, restricting oil flow to the burner.
Replacing or cleaning the fuel filter annually is recommended. Some filters are designed to be cleaned and reused, while others must be replaced completely. Consult your owner’s manual to determine the type you have. If your filter uses a cartridge, be sure to have a replacement on hand before removing the old one.
The winter season can bring added challenges when maintaining your home heating system. Taking proactive steps can help ensure your system runs smoothly all season long.
As we head into the heart of winter, periodically check your heating system and take action if any issues arise. With some preventive maintenance and vigilance, you can stay warm and comfortable as the temperatures drop. Taking a proactive approach sets you up for a smooth, stress-free season. Stay warm, and enjoy the peace of mind from a well-maintained, high-performing heating system.